I know the number one way to break a habit. I do.
It’s also the number one way to start a habit.
You just start a routine. Or just stop a routine.
Really, it’s that simple. How do I know this?
Because when I first started to negotiate contracts, I had to develop a routine, a system that would help me better prepare. If I wasn’t prepared, I didn’t do very well at the bargaining table. It’s how I came up with my 10 Rules for successful negotiating.
But this post isn’t about how to start a routine. It’s about the pitfalls of having a routine. Of not thinking about what your doing with your routine. I am a survivor and about to enlighten you.
My friends may recall one time when in the early hours of a cold wintry day I went out to snow plow my driveway. I have a normal daily routine of making (and drinking) coffee. It was so cold out I was anxious to come back in and have my morning cup. What happened then was one of those pitfalls. I drank the cup and savored each sip.
It was so good.
Except for one thing. I hadn’t put any coffee in the maker. It was a cup of hot water.
Here is another example that happened last week. First you must know that I’m a terribly busy person. In order to accomplish what I do I must have daily routines. I once had a routine of taking my wedding ring off every night before going to bed. I did this so that when I did my martial arts work out in the morning I wouldn’t be hitting the ring as I was punching the heavy bag or my wing chun dummy. Turns out as I was hitting my WC dummy made of PVC pipe I broke my ring finger. Yes I did. It was good I didn’t have my wedding ring on. I then ended up losing my ring and then finding it many months later in the middle of my street. It’s a complicated story complete with finger massages, purchasing a second ring and other stuff that isn’t really the point of this post.
Suffice to say because of that I no longer take off my wedding ring – ever.
But I do take off my other ring, a gold ring with a black onyx stone I bought in Italy 15 years ago. And true to my routine I put in on every morning as I’m getting dressed. Always.
Except for last week. I was staying in a hotel for a couple of nights. On the morning of the last day, I was getting dressed and true to my routine, I saw the ring and put it on.
I finished getting dressed and went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. I saw a co-worker and spoke to her for a few minutes. I returned to my room on the 22nd floor. I finished packing and prepared to check out. I double checked the room for anything I might have left and then exited. I got on the elevator, went down to the parking deck. Loaded up the car and drove to leave the deck and drive to my office. As I was driving with my hands on the wheel, I noticed the ring – the onyx one – was not on my right hand ring finger! I circled the car back to park my car.
I got out and began looking on the pavement to see if my ring fell off my finger. Nope. I then re-entered the hotel, went up to the 22nd floor and back to my room. I looked everywhere. On my hands and knees, I put my head to the carpet and looked all around. Couldn’t find it.
I then went back on the elevator and back down to the restaurant. They were all so nice as four employees started pulling chairs from several tables and got down to search for my ring. They couldn’t find it. So I went back up to my room, did I mention it was on the 22nd floor? Searching again and still not finding it, I called guest services. I told them what happened and they said they would alert hotel security and the housekeeping staff to look for it. I gave them all my contact information should they find the ring.
As I left the room, got back on the elevator, I began to realize the ring was probably lost for good. I even thought that if someone found it they probably wouldn’t turn it in. I wondered if they would get some pleasure out of it.
Sadly, I got to my car, started it up, took a deep breath while placing both my hands on the wheel and noticed something very odd.
My left hand ring finger had my wedding ring.
It was right under my gold black onyx ring.
I had been wearing it the entire time…on the wrong hand!
One of my “friends” cracked wise and said I could have shown the employees at the hotel saying “my lost ring looks just like this one!
Later that week when I returned home, I told my Mom what happened . I asked her, “Can you believe it, I had it on my other hand the whole time!” Her response was priceless. “Well, you were the one who drank a whole cup of hot water and thought it was coffee!”
In my defense I did discover it was water when I went back for a second cup.
The pitfall of having a routine?
You still have to think!
You’ve been warned.
Check out the vid link below -rock out with Aerosmith